Community Sports

Wednesday, Apr 16 2014 09:19 PM

Longtime official Osthimer dies at 80

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Clinton Osthimer, 2009 Bob Elias Kern County Hall 0f Fame.

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

Clint Osthimer said officiating football was his favorite activity in athletics.

But that was only part of his sports career.

Osthimer, who died Saturday at the age of 80, was also a longtime track and field official and helped develop youth wrestling programs in Kern County.

But Osthimer's life was so much more than athletics.

"He was really a wonderful person who loved people," said his wife of 58 years, Sharon.

Friends and family were extremely important to her husband, she added.

"In the later years, the last 15-20 years, I would add faith," Sharon Osthimer said. "Faith, family, friends and athletics."

She added: "Every week or two weeks, he talked to almost every friend he ever had, or he'd go back and forth on his IPad."

"He thoroughly enjoyed his family," said daughter Beth Ann. "I live on the East Coast. I was so fortunate I had him as long as I did. I spoke with him almost every day. We'd talk about what he was reading, his family, his church.

"He'd watch his grandson (pro player Brent Morel) play baseball. The last year we treasured. He had an excellent quality of life."

Osthimer officiated Division I football for 14 years and spent 25 years as an official and official evaluator. "Officiating took me all over the country," Osthimer said in a 2009 Californian story prior to his induction into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame.

He also refereed in the Japan Bowl for seven years.

In track, Osthimer worked as an official at the 1984 Olympic Trials and helped set up the pole vault competition at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Longtime Bakersfield College track coach Bob Covey, now retired, said Osthimer was the starter for the 1982 National Sports Festival meet in Indianapolis. Osthimer had worked for many years prior to that as a starter at local high school and BC meets.

"He was very professional as a starter," Covey said. "He was a hard-working person who did a lot of good things."

Osthimer was one of the leaders of the Kern County Wrestling Association when it formed in the early 1970s. He was tournament director of the third CIF State Wrestling Championship that was held at Bakersfield College in 1975.

"You're talking about a guy who gave wrestling a shot in the arm for this area's youth way back then," said Mike Stricker, president of the Coyote Club, the local wrestling booster group. "He was super for wrestling."

Born in Wabash, Ind., Osthimer attended his freshman year at Arizona State, spent two years in the U.S. Army and then graduated from Ball State in 1958 with a degree in English. He later earned his master's in administration at Cal Poly.

He came to Kern County in the fall of 1958 and began a 35-year career with the Kern High School District.

Osthimer's first four years were spent at Kern Valley High, then he joined the Foothill faculty in 1962 when that school opened. In 1970, he was on the staff that opened Highland High. He later returned to Kern Valley as principal before spending the final 10 years of his career as principal at the Bakersfield Adult School.

Sharon Osthimer said her husband left a huge impact at the adult school.

"He opened the pre-school at the Bakersfield Adult School," she said. "He worked with the architects, hired the staff and oversaw that program.

"He worked with programs at Lerdo (jail) and convalescent homes and other programs all over Bakersfield, Shafter and Kern County at that time. The Bakersfield Downtown Center -- he started that."

Services will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Bakersfield National Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at noon Wednesday at Westbrook Calvary Chapel, where his son, Michael, is pastor.

Survivors include his wife Sharon, daughters Beth Ann and Susan, sons Michael and Patrick, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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